What is Fixed Tuition?
Fixed Tuition is a program passed by the North Carolina General Assembly (North Carolina General Statute 116-143.9) that requires tuition rates be fixed for a maximum of 8 consecutive semesters (not including summer sessions) for qualifying NC residents attending any UNC system institution and pursuing a first bachelor's degree. Eligible students enrolled full-time or part-time can receive the Fixed Tuition benefit.
The program is designed as a cohort model. For example, eligible students who enroll for the first time at Appalachian State for Fall 2021 will be charged the tuition rate for Fall 2021 for the next 8 consecutive semesters of their enrollment. Transfer students and students who are readmitted (i.e., withdraw/stop-out and return) will have prorated eligibility (see below for more details).
When did the program begin?
The Fixed Tuition benefit was made effective beginning the Fall 2016/Spring 2017 academic year.
Which students are eligible for the Fixed Tuition benefit?
Eligible students must be classified as:
- Degree Seeking (pursuing first baccalaureate degree)
- In-State Residents
Students enrolled full-time or part-time are eligible for the Fixed Tuition benefit.
Are there any exceptions to the eligibility conditions?
- Undergraduates – There are no exceptions to the undergraduate requirement. Graduate students are not eligible for fixed tuition.
- Degree Seeking – Only first-time baccalaureate degree-seeking students are eligible. Students seeking a second bachelor's degree, or classified as non-degree, are not eligible for the benefit.
- In-State Residents – Only students classified as residents of NC qualify. The only exception is for students receiving a full scholarship under North Carolina General Statute 116-143.6. No other residency exceptions apply.
How do I know if I am receiving the benefit?
You can view in AppalNet Self-Service the status of your fixed tuition cohort and remaining eligibility. The fixed tuition benefit is assessed each Fall/Spring semester after census (10th class day of the term)
Under the Student tab, you will find "Students Accounts" then look for "Fixed Tuition Information." This page will display which term your fixed tuition cohort (i.e., tuition charge) was effective, and the term in which your eligibility will expire (i.e., the term in which you will no longer be eligible for fixed tuition benefits and will be charged the prevailing tuition rate).
How many semesters will I receive the benefit?
The benefit at Appalachian State is for a maximum of 8 consecutive semesters based on your status when you first enrolled at Appalachian.
- First-year, first-time students at Appalachian: If the first time you enrolled in any college after high school was at Appalachian State, and you meet all other eligibility criteria, you are eligible generally for a maximum of 8 semesters of fixed tuition.
- Transfer students: If you enroll in a college after high school, but before enrolling at Appalachian State, you are considered a transfer student. Transfer students will have all credits accepted for transfer at Appalachian State divided by 15 (result rounded up to nearest whole number) to determine semesters of eligibility used.
- For continuing students: The length of the benefit is reduced by the number of Fall or Spring semesters already completed at Appalachian State and by the number of transfer hours received (using the method described above). Note that transfer students will have eligibility prorated.
There is no proration of eligibility based on enrollment status. The semester counts toward continuous enrollment if you are enrolled for any credit hours; therefore any non-credit or audited courses do not count toward enrollment.
Can students lose their Fixed Tuition benefit?
Yes, there are a few ways a student may lose the benefit.
- Withdrawals/Continuous Enrollment: To remain eligible for the fixed tuition benefit, students must maintain continuous enrollment (excluding summer). Students who withdraw from the university BEFORE OR ON the tenth class day of the semester are considered to have broken continuous enrollment. When they re-enroll, they will be granted the Fixed Tuition benefit based on the current tuition rate for a pro-rated amount of time.
If a student withdraws AFTER the tenth class day and enrolls the following semester, the student is not considered to have broken continuous enrollment and may keep their original Fixed Tuition benefit rate. However, the semester from which they withdrew counts as a semester used toward the maximum of eight semesters of Fixed Tuition eligibility.
- Residency: If a student gains eligibility for in-state residency before or on the tenth class day of the semester, they will be eligible for fixed tuition for that semester; if eligibility for in-state residency is gained after the tenth day, they will not be eligible until the following semester.
If a student loses eligibility for in-state residency before or on the tenth class day of the semester, they will not be eligible for fixed tuition; if eligibility for in-state residency is lost after the tenth day, they will remain eligible for fixed tuition for the remainder of that semester but will lose the fixed tuition benefit for the following semester.
- Change of Classification: If a student moves from degree-seeking to non-degree status before or on the tenth day of classes, they will lose the fixed tuition benefit.
What if I think I qualify for an exception to the Fixed Tuition benefit calculation?
The legislation only allows for appeal of the determination that a student did not maintain continuous enrollment. There are no appeals for the calculation of initial eligibility.
The legislation allows appeals of continuous enrollment status when a break in enrollment was substantially disrupted enrollment due to military service obligation, serious medical debilitation, short-term or long-term disability, or other extraordinary hardship.
The Tuition Appeals Committee is the body to which such appeals must be submitted and is charged with the final responsibility for such decisions.